Sunday, January 2, 2011

Emergency verdict in ’76 violated rights: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has admitted that it had violated the fundamental rights of citizens during the 1975 Emergency, and in an unprecedented move commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence, earlier upheld by it, of a man who murdered four members of a family.
   A bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly in a judgement took a view that the majority decision of a five-member Constitution bench upholding suspension of fundamental rights during Emergency in the additional district magistrate Jabalpur vs Shivakant Shukla case (1976) was erroneous. “There is no doubt that the majority judgement of this court in the ADM Jabalpur case violated the fund a m e n t a l rights of a large number of people in this country,” Justice Ganguly observed.
   The judge made the observation while setting aside his own judgement of May 5, 2009 along with Justice Arijt Pasayat (since retd) wherein the SC had upheld the death sentence of Remdeo Chauhan who murdered Bhabani Charan Das and three members of his family on March 8, 1992.
   “Instances of this court’s judgement violating human rights of the citizens may be extremely rare but it cannot be said that such a situation can never occur. We can remind ourselves of the majority decision of the Constitution Bench of this court in additional district magistrate Jabalpur vs Shivakant Shukla reported in (1976).
   “The opinion was that in view of the presidential order dated 27.6.1975 under Article 359(1) of the Constitution, no person has the locus standi to move a writ petition under Article 226 before a high court for habeas corpus or any other writ to enforce any right to personal liberty of a person detained under the then law of preventive detention on grounds that the order is illegal,” Justice Ganguly observed. PTI

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